Brisbane Roar General Manager Ante Kovacevic says he understands the anger directed at the Club for their decision to close their academy programs across the U14-18 age groups, but that ultimately the move will benefit the Roar without hindering junior development in the state.

The decision has been met with widespread derision since it was announced last week, with former Roar striker Alex Brosque labelling the Club as a whole an ‘absolute shambles’ on SEN’s The Global Game.

But Kovacevic, who commenced his role last month after holding similar positions at Perth Glory, Adelaide United and Western United, stressed that streamlining resources would produce brawnier Under 23 & NPL Men’s sides while sacrificing only small reward currently gained from running junior teams.

‘It’s disappointing Alex didn’t pick up the phone and give a call to someone within the Club. After informative discussions with people on the reasons for taking this decision, I think most people are all for it’, Kovacevic told Box2Box.

‘I played against Brosquey back in the NSL days. The football community is pretty small, we can get anyone’s phone number, so to go out on a bit of a rant and blame the Bakrie Group the ownership and demand change was definitely an overreaction, and definitely unfounded.’

‘The conversion rate of picking a player that will become a professional from 10-15 is much lower than from 15-20. So putting more resources into that [older] space and making it an elite environment which could encompass 40-45 players, will provide them a level of professionalism to turn them into professional footballers.’

In their statement the Roar described Football Queensland as the ‘backbone’ of junior development in the Queensland, for their work carried out with local clubs and players; sceptics may see this complement from the state’s only professional side as a thinly-veiled deference of responsibility.

But Kovacevic pointed to Adelaide United’s place within the South Australian football landscape as an academy-less club that is still credited for nurturing local talent through the early stages of their careers better than most.

‘I spent time at Adelaide, they’ve never had an academy but there’s never any outrage about it, and they’re probably the most renowned club in the country for developing, playing and selling youth while still having a competitive team. They’ve only run two teams in NPL competitions, so the outrage towards the Roar is unjustified.

‘I think undertaking academies was almost a change of mind. Discussion around academies was to let the state bodies run it… until the Dutch guys came into Football Australia [then FFA] and tried to convert it to a Dutch model, where clubs have an academy and coach their philosophy.

‘The Stevie Gerrard that comes through the juniors, plays seniors and captains the club is all romantic notion. The reality of Australian football is there’s not much we can do to affect that 10-15 age group.’

‘I understand parents and kids might be disappointed, it’s always hard when you take things away because it looks like cost cutting, I get the anger. But there needs to be more discussion on why this is happening.’